ABWESENHEIT

Site-specific

Spanish Embassy in Berlin

From 29/05 to 31/07/1992

Curated by Dr. Claudia Buttner

 

Event Invitation

The character of this building provides a framework for understanding an important theme in my work: the manifestation of time as a historical process and a factor of personal experience. Absence, as a result of disappearance, is manifested here by the building´s covered-up windows, which, like eyes kept shut, reflect the gap that exists between the internal and the external, between reality and our mind. The existence of memory voids is suggested: the unknown, the imperceptible, the forgotten.

Light and sound are the main elements I employ in my work. Blue neon letters spelling the word “Abwesenheit” (absence) were hung inside a large hole remaining in the building from a wartime bomb. Red fluorescent lights are installed in the rest of the facade´s window openings. Sound is incorporated into the work through the playback of a segment of music by Arvo Pärt titled “Sarah was Ninety Years old”. The immaterial presence of music provides mediation between “Abwesenheit” and reality.

Chema Alvargonzález